"Ask your query and be on your way. Just don't look her in the eye."
Damia, Sage of Stone is a tri-colored General that creates massive card advantage.
She has the colors of mana-ramp, control and attrition. Her ability to fully replenish your hand during each of your upkeeps is remarkable, but her true power stems from two very implicit effects:
1) The faster and more aggressively you play, the more Damia will reward you.
2) Her card-drawing effect also works as a very potent delving ability.
First, since you will be recovering your hand during each of your upkeeps, there is no reason why you should not hold back using your resources. Usually, control players have to think a lot before spending some precious tutor, sweeper or winning condition with the risk of losing it and be left with nothing. Damia gives you back your deck, anyway, so she lets you play like crazy red, but without losing your hand immediately. Also, since you will be drawing so much cards, this general is very appropriate for combo decks that need to search for certain cards constantly to work adequately.
Now, this deck is not exactly a combo deck. Were most people choose Damia to build reanimator or beatdown decks with some card advantage, my friend Carlos managed to build a Damia deck that exploits her true potential as a card-drawing-delving-recurring engine.
This deck is surprisingly fast. As soon as you hit ten mana, you can easily start a loop that will almost always win you the game. Damia is a heavy seven mana, tri-colored general, but she is also green, the color of mana-ramp, and blue, the color of card-drawing and endless resources. You will play a land every turn, and with all the mana artifacts you will have those ten mana probably before turn 6:
You also get to use classic green ramp:
Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Exploration will drop every land card that you draw from Damia and all the other card-drawing tools that I will discuss later.
You want lands that produce 'double' mana because of this:
Mana Reflection and Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger will help you to get to that 10 mana threshold really fast. The lands mentioned above will work wonders with Mana Reflection because they will yield 4 mana, instead of just the 3 mana that most mana doublers offer. You will probably have to spend a tutor to search for the enchantment as well as the 'combo' pieces; that's why we have 'six' tutors in this deck:
I write 'six' tutors because we actually have more than that. Increasing Ambition is actually THREE tutors in one, and Demonic Collusion has Buyback, and ability that has no major negative repercussions in this deck because your hand will almost always will be full. In a way, you will always have a tutor to search for the right card.
The very special Riftsweeper is a pseudo-tutor that lets you recover precious exiled spells, like Praetor's Counsel and Restock:
There is also Archmage Ascension:
This ridiculously powerful Enchantment goes well with the several card-drawing engines that we have:
CARD DRAWINGAs I said, this deck generates an incredible amount of card advantage. You need that because you will be delving your deck for the loop or combo that you are trying to pull off and because of Demonic Collusion's Buyback cost. Damia is mana-heavy and she will not always be there in time, so you need some smaller card-drawing dorks to help you on the early game:
Azami, Lady of Scrolls only works with Wizards, but this deck packs several useful wizards, including Damia herself. Besides, you can tap her too to draw a card. We will see the other wizards in a minute.
EXTRA TURNSWe have already covered the smaller aspects of this deck. Now we uncover the aforementioned 'loop' that we are trying to pull-off. The combo or loop consist on getting a LOT of turns, so naturally you will need spells that give you extra turns and that can be recycled by recursion spells, which will be discussed afterwards:
You really have only five effective extra-turn spells. Lighthouse Chronologist doesn't work for the loop that you are trying to build. Still, it is amazing in multiplayer games, like Commander, so we are including it anyway.
You will focus on Time Stretch. Thats why I've been repeating that you need ten mana to win. You will ideally ramp a little, then search for Mana Refection and cast it, then cast Damia, Sage of Stone and a tutor to search for Time Stretch, then cast it during the following turn, along with a recursion spell that you can score with Damia's following hand replenishment, if you don't have one already. Then repeat process until you stabilize: this means having enough mana or extra turns to drop a beater and still generate the extra turns. This is not very difficult because you also have ways to take the most advantage out of the extra-turns spells:
SPELL-COPYINGYou will want to copy your Time Stretch with one of these:
Your best bet is definitely Sigil Tracer. Not only it is the cheapest recurring source of spell copying, but it also works wonders with your general. You see, Damia, Sage of Stone is also a Wizard, so you can tap her and Sigil Tracer to copy your Time Stretch. That's FOUR extra turns for 12 mana. You might not get to copy your Time Stretch during your first round of the loop because of the probable lack of mana, but after your recover the sorcery again with a recursion spell, you will already have enough mana to cast AND copy your Time Stretch.
Echo Mage is only potentially better than Sigil Tracer. If you dump a lot a lot mana into him and you are lucky enough that he doesn't get removed, then you might be able to have SIX extra turns, instead of the usual four.
The other real option is Uyo, Silent Prophet, but you need to play her with Exploration or Azusa, Lost but Seeking because you might go below the required 12 mana to cast and copy Time Stretch because of the lands betting back in pairs to your hand.
Mirari will cost you 13 mana to cast and copy your big spell, but it is the most stable and reliable source of spell-copying that you have.
Recursion is one of the most important aspects of this commander deck. Sure, every deck wants to have some recursion, but you actually need them to pull off the chain of extra turns that you want to create. Here are the spells that you will be using for that:
Recursion is essential because you NEED to recover you spells that give you extra turns, specially Time Stretch, so you can continue to cast and double them. This is basically the loop: Get extra turns, recover them with recursion, repeat. this is not infinite since some of your best recursive spells get exiled as soon as they resolve. Also, the other smaller spells can be recovered, along with everything else, with Loaming Shaman, but nothing guarantees that you will always draw that tutor or extra-turn spell.
Other recursion spells that don't have anything to do with the loop is:
This deck doesn't have any protection against Artifacts or Enchantments, so we will be using Beacon of Unrest to revive your opponent's creatures or artifacts that can deal with such things. Also, Sheoldred is both recursion AND removal, another thing that this deck doesn't have much.
But no worries! You will not need and infinity of turns to kill your opponents. Usually, you stabilize after your third extra turn; then you drop one the following:
These two creatures were meant for extra turns. They get bigger and bigger with every passing attack. Vorosh can get to the point of one-shoting a single player, and Grave Titan just keeps dropping small zombies that won't cease to get relevant chunks of life from your opponents. You can also rely on this:
You can drop him, produce around ten plants and them pump them up with Azusa, Lost but Seeking and Exploration during your following extra turn. You will not get constant extra power with this one, so make sure your plants are big enough before sending them to the red zone.
DEFENSEBefore you build your loop, you might get too much attention because of your lack of defensive permanents and big creatures. You can use one of the following to persuade or stall your opponents while you set up your board:
Great defense is always in the form of control; something that black and blue offer:
Damnation and Plague Wind will be saved for situations that are completely out of control, while Dread can be dropped immediately to persuade your opponent's from attacking you.
Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is so powerful that its use as a General is banned from Commander. You can still pack the soratami in your 99 card deck, so if you are lucky enough to draw him, make sure that you cast and flip this legendary and annoying piece of awesomeness.
Hinder and Spell Crumple are staple Commander counters because they can send opposing General into the bottom of their owner's library.
Voidmage Husher can negate the activation of several unique abilities, and you can bounce her back and reuse her for later threats. In other words, this is a recurring counter. It is also a Wizards that you can tap to Azami, Lady of Scrolls' effect.
Another defensive permanent is Bojuka Bog:
It protects against other combo and reanimator decks. Just make sure they aren't used on you.
We also have the Lightning Greaves:
The little equipment is a recurring staple in most Commander decks. In our build, it will help you protect not Damian, but Sigil Tracer and friends. It can also help your Vorosh attach immediately or help your card-drawing engines tap a turn earlier.
Rite of Replication is a winning condition that needs to be in this Damia build. You will always want to cast with the kicker to target Rune-Scarred Demon, Avenger of Zendikar, Eternal Witness, even Echo Mage or Sigil Tracer! And these are only the creatures that you have access to. You can always copy a green creature that removes other permanents, like Artifacts and Enchantments, for which you don't have much answers.
Finally, the mana base. I will skip the lands that I already presented at the beginning of this entry.
We want Reliquary Tower because we are drawing so many cards:
Having this land out early is pretty important. You don't want to waste a tutor on it; it is better to tutor for a Praetor's Counsel, for example, but you can always search the land with Primeval Titan.
The remainder of the lands are just the 'Snow-Covered' basics (because of possible opposing Extraplanar Lens from monocolored Commander decks). We want 8x Snow-Covered Forest, 2x Snow-Covered Swamp, and 11x Snow-Covered Island:
I'm not including Grand Coliseum because you don't need to fix your mana base that quickly. The General costs seven mana, so you will have some time to muster the necessary colors without having to stress painful stuff like Grand Colisseum or City of Brass.
Here is a complete deck list for your reference:
1x Damia, Sage of Stone
1x Sigil Tracer
1x Vorosh, the Hunter
1x Voidmage Husher
1x Loaming Shaman
1x Tomorrow, Azami's Familiar
1x Azami, Lady of Scrolls
1x Azusa, Lost but Seeking
1x Sakura-Tribe Elder
1x Uyo, Silent Prophet
1x Solemn Simulacrum
1x Arcanis the Omnipotent
1x Yavimaya Elder
1x Erayo, Soratami Ascendant
1x Avenger of Zendikar
1x Mnemonic Wall
1x Lighthouse Chronologist
1x Echo Mage
1x Grave Titan
1x Sheoldred, Whispering One
1x Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger
1x Rune-Scarred Demon
1x Mana Reflection
1x Archmage Ascension
1x Dreadship Reef
8x Snow-Covered Forest
11x Snow-Covered Island
2x Snow-Covered Swamp
1x Simic Growth Chamber
1x Dimir Aqueduct
1x Golgari Rot Farm
1x Temple of the False God
1x Llanowar Wastes
1x Yavimaya Coast
1x Reflecting Pool
1x Underground River
1x Sunken Ruins
1x Flooded Grove
1x Twilight Mire
1x Reliquary Tower
1x Rupture Spire
1x Drowned Catacomb
1x Bojuka Bog
1x Command Tower
1x Hinterland Harbor
1x Woodland Cemetery
1x Overwhelming Intellect
1x Noxious Revival
1x Spell Crumple
1x Demonic Collusion
1x Beacon of Tomorrows
1x Beacon of Unrest
1x Diabolic Tutor
1x Time Stretch
1x Time Warp
1x Temporal Manipulation
1x Capture of Jingzhou
1x Demonic Tutor
1x Beseech the Queen
1x Rite of Replication
1x Call to Mind
1x Plague Wind
1x Plague Wind
1x Praetor's Counsel
1x Increasing Ambition
1x Simic Signet
1x Dimir Signet
1x Golgari Signet
1x Darksteel Ingot
1x Lightning Greaves
1x Thran Dynamo
1x Sol Ring
Walk the eons!